Signature Edition Tesla Roadster EU

Signature Edition Tesla Roadster: "Be among the first in Europe to own the breakthrough Tesla Roadster. This special allocation of 250 uniquely equipped 2009 EU-specification Tesla Roadsters will be made available exclusively for European customers at a price of €99,000. Establish your place in automotive performance history by reserving a Signature Edition Tesla Roadster today."

A smart move by the market savvy geeks at Tesla Motors, and in time for the rumored debut of the Tesla on BBC's Top Gear this Sunday (December 14). That's Top Gear as aired in the UK. No word yet on when it will air on BBC America, but here's betting the Tesla segment will be on YouTube before Monday morning, New York time.

The Tesla fans/owners that I know are bracing themselves for Jeremy Clarkson's reaction to the Tesla, given a. Clarkson's attitude to all things green, b. Clarkson's preference for entertainment over facts, c. Clarkson's feelings towards America. The posse agree that Clarkson is a great entertainer and we're all fans of Top Gear. But...

For example, last season Clarkson trashed the Ford F150, a vehicle of which I am a past owner and long time fan. Jeremy accurately captured the main reason why pickups don't sell well in the UK (people steal whatever is in the pickup bed--something my brother pointed out years ago, and a leading reason why vans are the contractor's vehicle of choice in the UK). But Jeremy totally failed to understand why Americans buy F150s.

Having driven up and down America in an F150 numerous times, often towing a trailer, I can assure you there is not a more comfortable, reliable, and capable vehicle in which to do that. Just ask my Mum. She's been driving for 45 years and thoroughly enjoyed our two day trip from Florida to upstate New York in my 2003 F150. We got 15 mpg towing a hefty trailer. I got 20 mpg on the return trip, sans trailer but averaging over 70mph (*optional rigid truck bed tonneau needed for that kind of mileage).

The ride was smooth, the cabin spacious and comfortable. And this was a standard cab, long bed XL, with the 4.7 Triton V8, not some fancy edition (although I did add side rails for easier access). I had to sell that F150 because it was not four wheel drive and we have moved from Florida to a cottage on a hill at the end of a gravel road that rises 300 feet in less than a third of a mile (on which snow is gently falling even as I blog this).

So, to recap, IMHO: The F150s rock, Top Gear rocks, the Tesla rocks, and Clarkson rocks as an entertainer. Just keep that in mind Tesla fans, should Jeremy miss the point about the masterpiece of automotive engineering that is the Tesla Roadster.

An Odd Box of Images: Round up of jpeggery

As life goes by on the Internet highway I sometimes take a moment to snap pictures of odd things I see. Figured I would share some of them from time to time. Like this recent weather report from Google. The graphic for the current conditions in Cherry Valley is either missing or an attempt to depict a white out. I thought it was pretty funny. The actual conditions were very snowy but not a blizzard. Later in the day the white square was replaced by a the image you see on the left of the bottom row of icons.

And speaking of snow, I just uploaded a short video of the fun to be when you live in a cottage on a hill in upstate New York that relies on a wood stove for heat during the winter. This is a sneak preview. I may move the video to a different host but for now you can see it here.

Underrated Female Soul Singers by Vivrant Thang

Just found this great list: My Favorite Things: Underrated Female Soul Singers. Complete with links to check them out. Very handy. Much appreciated Vivrant.

Am now adding this to my "Things to do on the net when I have a few spare moments and some decent bandwidth."

Update: Already bought Pleasureville by Lizz Fields. Excellent listening. Good songs, creatively arranged, delivered with way more soul than most highly paid performers can seem to muster these days. Some of the arrangements are unexpected, but in good way. Now have "Daddy's Cadillace" and "The Road to Pleasureville" on my drive time CD.

Offshoring and the Auto Industry

Steve Clemons: Offshoring and the Auto Industry

He that Michael Moore has pointed out: "anyone could buy the entire American auto industry for less than $3 billion -- and U.S. taxpayers are about to pump 5 times that into the uncompetitive sector.

And on top of that -- there is NOTHING in the current outlines of the auto bailout package that requires the auto industry to keep jobs in the U.S. This money can go to help them manage their facilities abroad -- in lower wage countries -- while facilities continue to shut down in the U.S. with jobs shifted overseas."

Wish someone would bail me out of my upside down property and pay me to live well in a cheap place abroad. Maybe then I could afford to buy a new car.

Cost of XP "Down" Grade? $150 at Dell

"How much extra will people people pay to avoid Vista? Dell has pushed the price of avoiding Vista up to $150." Hardware 2.0 |

And worth it! A new machine with XP installed is hard to find and I am hearing horror-stories from folks trying DIY retro-fitting of XP on machines that come with Vista.

An alternative? You can pick up an off-lease IBM Thinkpad running XP for about $350. I just ordered one for a family member. Will report back on the results.

Coldplay Viva La Vida Satriana Ripoff? The Internet helps you decide!

There's an interesting Web 2.0 twist in the lawsuit brought by guitar legend Joe Satriani against Coldplay for alleged plagiarism in Viva La Vida (one of the tunes used to sell iPhones). Thanks to the magic of the Internet you can play both songs at the same time. I think this is quite telling.*

Here's one of the places that has both performances on the same page so you can decide what you think. If you time your "Play" clicks just right, and you have decent bandwidth, you can get them playing on top of each other.

Having admired Satriani's musicianship for many years, as well as his extensive knowledge of the history of guitar technique, I am inclined to take him seriously. This could well be a My Sweet Lord He's So Fine moment, although that case--in which George Harrison's 1970 hit "My Sweet Lord" was found to have plagiarised "He's So Fine" composed by Ronald Mack and recorded by the Chiffons in 1962 lasted for a lot longer than a moment--the moment the question was raised, the public could start deciding for itself, albeit without the benefit fo the Internet.

Regardless of the outcome of the Satriani Coldplay case, there's a fascinating historical twist: Apple Computer used this possibly plagiarized tune to promote its iPhone less than two years after the conclusion of decades of trademark litigation involving Apple Music, of which Harrison was a co-founder.

*Note: The author of this blog post was declared "tone deaf" by his third grade teacher, Mrs. Ashby, and makes no claim to having any special knowledge about music, except a. He knows what he likes when he hears it, and b. He claims he can recognize any Otis Redding recording within 3 seconds.

Geeks Who Give? What a great idea!

As if all the hope embodied in our president elect were not enough to put a smile on your face, along comes another very hopeful sign: Geeks Who Give. These particular geeks are in Philadelphia and they are using Twitter to give their food drive some momentum. You can follow them here: Or help spread the word by placing this badge on your web site:
Geeks Who Give

The Daily Apple: Apple #324: G Forces

The Daily Apple: Apple #324: G Forces

Another Great Hemochromatosis Resource

Thanks to a comment on my previous post about hemochromatosis I can pass along another web resource for anyone looking to learn more about this common, dangerous, yet treatable condition. The Canadian Hemochromatosis Society web site at has loads of information.

I'm very grateful to Bob Rogers, Executive Director of the Canadian Hemochromatosis Society, for pointing me to the site. I particularly like the way the "What is it?" page is written. It provides a very straightforward explanation of hereditatry hemochromatosis.

Beyond the Bailout: Executive pay and corporate welfar

"Are limits on executive compensation for banks that accept federal funds just the first wave in a future sea of pay measures?"

Beyond the Bailout - CFO Magazine - December 2008 Issue -

Great to see CFO Magazine address exec pay in post-bailout terms. My own "excessive executive pay" theory is that lack of social welfare is a major driver. That's right, corporate executives know just how much money it takes to protect oneself and one's family from all eventualities in the world today. CEOs feel that amassing huge amounts of money is the only way to make sure they and their loved ones don't end up in the gutter.

As our country proceeds to plow billions of corporate welfare dollars into companies whose demise was caused by CEOs and other executives pursuing paycheck maximization at all costs, it behooves us to ponder where all this comes from, what's the driver?

Ironically, the driver is, IMHO, the lack of social welfare in the U.S. For too many Americans their country's social safety net is a nightmare scenario. What awaits the average working American who loses job, house, health, savings? It's a jobless, homeless, life-threatening, shaming and demoralizingly hopeless mess.

How much money do you need to steer clear of this, to rule it out of future? A million dollars? Two million dollars? Noooo. You need way more than that. Tens of millions more. The reality is, and this reality has recently been underlined, you just "need" one real estate market reversal and/or stock market correction and you can kiss your millions goodbye.

And when your net worth drops below seven figures you are one diagnosis, one car crash, away from bankruptcy. With the "right" combination of circumstances your future can quickly shift to one of coupon-clipping, paycheck-to-paycheck, rent's due, viewless living, with zero vacations and a daily grind that extends all the way into old age.